Rewinding to a starting place…
(Part 1 – Prologue – can be read here)
“Invisible threads are the strongest ties”
10th October 2001
Well, I’m in!
It seems ironic that while you are living what sounds like a badly-scripted melodrama, my life is unfolding in a relatively fluid way. I’m not saying it’s easy – please don’t think I am. Separating from someone you’ve been with so long is never easy, especially when you have children. But there’s an ease to which things are happening here which is in sharp contrast to what seems to be happening for you there. And today, after having spent a few weeks looking for the perfect apartment, I got the keys to my new place. I wish I could show it to you. I wish you could have been part of the search. There were so many to choose from that I was spoiled for choice! Last time I went looking for a place to live – years ago now – it was hard to find even one that I was happy with. This time, though, it was as if the ease of finding a new home was further confirmation that I’m making the right move by leaving my marriage, no matter how difficult it may seem in some ways.
Anyway, since you can’t be here, let me paint you a mental picture and I‘ll send on some photos later when I have an address to which I can post them. I’m on the third floor of a four-story block which was only built a few years ago – a very modern complex of carefully arranged buildings surrounded by landscaped grounds. The rooms are spacious and bright, with large floor to ceiling windows that look out on the garden and fountains. The apartment is white with – guess what? – a blue carpet, my favorite color! And right facing my window are three amazing old trees which are my friends already. I can imagine I’ll be spending a lot of time on the small balcony gazing at the sky and the trees.
It’s unexpectedly quiet, too, given the number of people who must be living here. I’ve met my immediate neighbor already, who lives alone as well, and it turns out we have a friend in common. But other than that, I haven’t seen much of anyone else coming or going.
After I moved my stuff in this afternoon, I stood in the middle of the living room, feeling like I was finally getting a sense of myself again. This whole journey with you, since you found me again last year, has been one long exploration deep inside myself. Funny how we can drift along through life trying to fit in with what’s going on outside of ourselves and losing sight of who we really are. I hadn’t realized how far I’d drifted from myself until you showed up again, reminding me of who I’d been all those years ago and of who I might still be under all the layers of accumulated distraction that I’d gathered along the way. It was as if you could see to the heart of me and that was all it took to bring it out into the open again. As the quantum physicists have said, the act of observing something changes the outcome. You looked at my heart – the first person in years to see it properly – and suddenly everything changed. I had no choice but to acknowledge that I’d carefully locked some of it away years ago. Yeah, ouch!
Here, in my new home, where I have no-one else to answer to or to distract myself with (other than you, my absent lover), I know I can find myself again. I’m looking forward to simply being in my own space, and no doubt I’ll be spending a lot of time on my yoga as I always seem to do when things go pear-shaped in my life.
Pear-shaped… now, that’s an interesting expression. Why do we relate that shape to things going wrong? Maybe the sense of weight at the bottom is a sign of the bottom falling out of something? Who knows! I’m prone to rambling, I know. Sorry!
But back to the yoga. I can remember, even as a young adult, using yoga as my retreat when things weren’t going as I would have liked – up to three hours a night sometimes. Is that a bit weird? At least it’s a healthier way of escaping than drowning my sorrows in a bottle. And at least here I have space to spread out my mat without having to move the furniture or do Downward Dog with my hands shoved under an armchair as I used to in my first bed-sit. Wow! What a distance I’ve come since that first place I called a home of my own!
I do wish you were here, though, so I could show you round and we could perhaps go for a meal to mark the occasion. I’m not sure if it’s something I should be celebrating or feeling sad about – marking as it does the end of a marriage as well. But it’s something that is momentous in my life and for that reason alone I’d love to be able to have someone to share it with.
And that’s something I’ve been feeling a lot recently – that gap where our communication used to be and where my husband used to be too. I miss having a close companion to share things with and a lover to share my bed. It’s a really human thing, I guess. Your emails are few and far between now, as you deal with moving and starting a new life yourself. And I understand how you may be just in the thick of dealing with it all, too busy to be thinking about me as regularly as you used to. But I would so love to be able to talk to you more openly – to lift the phone and see how you’re getting on. I’ve never understood why we couldn’t just talk easily. I’m used to lifting the phone and talking to people in various parts of the world – it’s just what I do as part of my business. So why is this different? Why can’t I just ring you? Why can’t we work this out as two adults would, in a mature and open way? It so often feels like I’m stuck in some desperate version of an early Bruce Springsteen song and I don’t understand why when the rest of my life isn’t like that. Is this what people mean by karma – something happening to you that you’ve no control over? I’d like to be able to just talk to you rather than write letters that go nowhere other than into my diary. Open communication has always been such an important part of my life.
Still, the fact that I can’t talk to you as I’d like to has meant that I have to fall back on my own resources all the time. Without you there as an outlet for me, someone to direct my time and energy towards, I’ve had to find another expression – and it’s become a habit by now to write letters to you that don’t get sent. Writing has always been something I do when I want to work things through, and I find myself more and more drawn to it now. It becomes my way of exorcising inner demons, of working through the murkiness of my emotions and getting some sense of clarity. It’s amazing when you write things down in a moment of passion, and come back to them later from a place of calm, what you can see that you couldn’t see earlier.
And despite the fact that I miss you and that I wish we were together, I still wouldn’t automatically welcome the prospect of you arriving on my doorstep. There’s part of me that knows we are exactly where we need to be. I know we each need to settle down into the recent changes and get a sense of what it is we really want before we take any further steps. I would hate to think you were ending up on my doorstep out of desperation rather than a desire to be with me.
I know we need to give this process – whatever it is – time to unfold naturally. There seems to be a momentum and a wisdom to it that I can’t quite work out and which is moving me gradually in a particular direction. Part of me wants to believe it’s moving me closer to you and only waiting for you to be ready. It seems a logical assumption, after all we’ve been through, to think we will end up together when everything else has worked itself out. After all, why would we have been brought together as we were if it was only to separate again? How would that make sense? When we first met, we were too young to make it last. Now it seems not only are we old enough, but also gradually freeing ourselves from our marriages and available to create a more lasting relationship if that’s what we want. I know we didn’t leave our marriages deliberately to create a new one, but somehow it does look like that might be where all this is heading.
Like I said, though, it doesn’t seem the time just yet to make a decision for some reason. All I know for certain right now is that I can’t resist co-operating with whatever this process is – I’m too curious and fond of adventure to turn my back on all of this out of fear of what might happen. I have to find out what happens next, my dearest absent lover.
(The journey of the Letters unfolds here weekly during the autumn and winter. If you’d like to be alerted as they are published, please just ‘follow’ my blog).